Is It Just Me?

Thrilled as I am to see the owners use the same brand of anit-cavity rinse as I do, couldn't the photographer have at least added a fresh roll of toilet paper?

Awarded Worst Real Estate Photo EVER: Thrilled as I am to see that the owners use the same brand of anit-cavity rinse as I do, couldn’t the photographer have at least added a fresh roll of toilet paper? (click on photo to enlarge, go on, do it!)

Unlike some bloggers, I never, ever make fun of other brokers’ listings, would you agree? Exactly. But the time has come where even I, the epitome of kindness and understanding, have been pushed too far.  A new listing in Old Greenwich, which appears to be accurately priced, by the way, nevertheless has photos so atrocious as to make it impossible for me to ignore.

The listing broker, or perhaps a well-meaning, but talent-less broker assistant?, has taken the worst photos I’ve ever seen. Do photos matter?  I say yes. You can get away with horrendously-written remarks, but photos have to meet a minimum standard, or you’re putting your listing at a severe disadvantage.

I'm not claiming my kitchen looks any cleaner, but seriously, couldn't we clear the counters, just for the photo?

I’m not claiming my kitchen looks any cleaner, but seriously, could we clear the counters, just for the photo?

I like that little bit of car in the photo, it adds....drama.

I like that little bit of car in the photo, it adds….drama.

Here's that bathroom again, different angle, same (nearly finished) roll of toilet paper...

Here’s a different bathroom, with a fine collection of toothbrushes, and…what’s this? Another (nearly finished) roll of toilet paper!

Yet another toilet, zounds! And look carefully, you can see the photographer (Ansel Adams) reflected in the mirror!

Yet another toilet, zounds! And look carefully, you can see the photographer (Ansel Adams) reflected in the mirror!

This Market Stinks!

Ok ,perhaps I’m being harsh. We have had, after all, a winter that wouldn’t quit, but dammit, on Monday, I want to see plenty of “accepted offers”. Is that too much to ask? Come on! Beautiful weekend, flowers (remember those things?), birds, grass growing…where are the New Yorkers?

images

Here’s a good example, a “stock photograph” of a young couple buying real estate, where the @#%& are they?

Pricing For A Bidding War

 

25 Evergreen, off lower Lake Avenue, across from The Field Club. Everyone wanted it!

29 Evergreen, $1.250M, off lower Lake Avenue, across from The Field Club. Everyone wanted it!

Truth is, most of the time, when a bidding war breaks out, the broker is caught completely by surprise. That’s fine, as long as the broker has the good sense to realize what’s happening, and then just get out of the way!

That might be what happened recently at 29 Evergreen Road; great old 1947 ranch on .51 acres in the R-12 zone. An over-sized lot, and the particular topography of it, probably made this very attractive to builders. The place was gone in a weekend, and I’m guessing it went over ask. $100K? 200K? Can’t wait to see!

Here’s a couple more that recently went over ask:

81 Husted Lane, Greenwich

68 Northridge Road, Old Greenwich

Useful tip: Click on the listing link, then select “map”. On the map, click on the little star showing on the lot, then click “Bird’s Eye”.

Also try “street view” (not always available).

Got it?

 

 

Racer Danica Patrick

Wow! Can that outfit really protect you in a crash? Amazing.

Wow! Can that outfit really protect you in a crash? Amazing.

 

Purists might object to race car driver Danica Patrick posing this way. I mean what, after all, does this have to do with auto racing? But the same might have been asked (probably was) of Orioles Hall of Famer, Jim Palmer, posing in skimpy banana-hammocks back in the 1970′s.

He's no Danica Patrick!

He’s no Danica Patrick!

 

I say, what the hell?

NAR Sues Zillow!

Whoa! NAR draws first blood against Zillow! (actors depicting actual litigants)

Whoa! NAR draws first blood against Zillow! (actors depicting actual litigants)

Well, not exactly. The National Association Of Realtors has joined a suit instigated by Move.com, a competing online real estate service. What this really seems to be about is that Zillow is poaching executives from Move…

NAR’s statement

Move, Inc.’s statement

The rest of the story…

Ritchie’s Archipelago & Car Nicobar…

Full-size runway on the island of "Car Nicobar", in the Adaman Sea...(see BingMaps link)

Full-size runway on the island of “Car Nicobar”, in the Andaman Sea…(see BingMaps link)

Sounds like a couple of swingin’ Indian Ocean hot-spots, does it not? Instead, those are two of the actual names of locations in the area there, known as the Andaman Islands. Click on the two links below, then zoom in, and you’ll find various full-size airstrips, capable of handling a Boeing 777!

I’m not making light of the plight of the passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 flight. If they’re all still alive somewhere, it is not going to be some sort of exciting “adventure” for them. If the plane was commandeered by crazed Muslims*, it could only be with pure evil intent. But since we know almost nothing, at this point, all we can do is speculate.

http://binged.it/1im3BBO (shows the whole area)

http://binged.it/1d2ofSs  (shows Nicobar’s airstrip)

* Oh, did I say Muslims? I meant Catholics, or maybe…Tea-Party types!

Why Not Price Your House At $1?

32 Lake Aveune, asked $749,000. Got $1.1M.

32 Lake Avenue, the owner assumed the house was worth $900,000, so asked $749,000. Got $1.1M.

Blogger Chris Fountain was extolling the virtues of good pricing, even deliberate under-pricing, so one of his (dopier) readers responded sarcastically, “By that logic, all houses should be priced at one dollar.”

Well, yeah, but no, do not list your house for one dollar. Not because it wouldn’t work, it probably would, but the fact is, you don’t need to. Market “magic” will occur at a price that is merely low. Also, at $1, or other silly asking price, you risk making your listing look “gimmicky”. A buyer of valuable art might go for it, but the buyer of a primary residence could possibly be turned off. So how do you price your house? There are five ways.

Let’s assume your property is worth $1,000,000. Here are the five ways you can present it to the public:

1.  Grossly under-price ($700,000)

2.  Slightly under-price ($899,000)

3.  Price “to sell” ($1,000,000)

4.  Slightly over-price ($1,100,000)

5.  Grossly over-price ($1,300,000+)

The first two options will get you a bidding war, guaranteed.

Option 3 (priced to sell) may get you a bidding war, but the problem is, you don’t really know for sure what your house is worth, no one does. Brokers (and appraisers) are always capable of under-pricing a house, but they don’t know with certainty what the market will decide your house is truly worth. If they’re right about your $1M house, that’s good, you’ll get a small bidding war at that asking price. But if they’re wrong, and the market decides your place is only worth $950,000, you get no bidding war.

Most sellers go with option 4, slightly over-pricing their house, believing they need that little extra for “negotiation”, That’s fine, and it usually works out ok for them, they may get their $1M eventually, or maybe somewhere in the $900′s, but it won’t be a disaster, and they’ll be on and off the market in a few months. They eliminated any chance of getting more than their house was worth, but the process felt “safe” and “orderly”, so they’re happy.

The real disaster awaits the gross over-pricers. These are sellers who use phrases like “We need to get [some amount] for our house”, and who, after six months on the market, revert to phrases like, “We just haven’t found the right buyer”. They take what should be a relatively simple process, lasting 30-90 days, and turn it into a multi-month/multi-year ordeal. Do not do this.